According to a survey in recent time conducted by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 93% of lost dogs return home safely.
This means that the first 24 hours after your dog goes missing are crucial in ensuring a safe return.
If you’ve already posted flyers, gotten the word out to your neighbors, and done a thorough search of the area, try these tips for finding your best friend even faster.
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1. Think smart, Search smarter
Analyze your dog’s personality, age, and activity level when figuring out where to search.
If your dog is active and young, it might run away from home to the next block or mile. An old or lazy dog will stay close. For example, a young Dalmatian that loves to run might go very far away. But a chubby, old Bulldog is not likely to go more than one block outside of your home. A social butterfly Golden Retriever might go straight to the local park, but a food-loving Lab may look for the nearest restaurant’s dumpster instead.
2. Stay Home, and don’t Spread Your Scent all Around
Your dog is lost, and you’re searching high and low for him. Stop! Walking around looking for your pup may actually make it harder for him to find his way home, according to Babs Fry of Pettrackers International pet detective agency.
“I think finding a lost dog is all about finding the scent,” says Fry, who has successfully reunited hundreds of lost dogs with their families over the years. “If your dog can get enough of your scent in one place so that he can track the strongest concentration of the familiar scents, then he’ll come back.”
“They run out and look for their dog everywhere, spreading their scent all around. They very rarely leave their doors open. The dog gets back. But everything is very buttoned up, so they leave again.” – Babs Fry
3. Get help of a “Search Dog”
When your dog runs away, the best way to find him is to enlist the help of a Search Dog. Search Dogs are specially trained to track down missing animals, and their expertise can be invaluable when it comes to finding your pup.
If you’re lucky enough to live near a Search Dog organization, they will likely be happy to help you find your pet. Search Dogs typically work pro-bono, so there’s no cost to you. However, if there is no Search Dog group in your area, you may need to hire a professional search and rescue team. This can be expensive, but it’s often worth the cost if your pet is missing.
4. Alert your neighbors
Show your lost dog pictures to people on the street. Give them a flyer. If they see your dog, they can call you, and you can come to pick it up. Be sure to go door-to-door in the neighborhood where your dog lives so that people know about it and will keep their eyes open for it too.
Talk to the local business owners and people who visit places that your dog might go to or pass by. You should also talk to the people who live near you because they are important too!
5. Enlist the Help of the Pet Forums & Social Media
The internet is a powerful tool in finding lost pets. It is possible to find them even years after they go missing with Facebook and other websites. It would be great if you used Facebook, local lost pet forums, and community for-sale and event pages to post about your missing pet. You can also post your Lost Dog ad to Craigslist and search their “Found Pets” section several times a day for your dog. Other sites like Pet FBI offer free resources to people who have lost pets, including databases, flier templates, and expert tips.
However, there are a few things you should keep in mind when posting.
- First, make sure to include recent photos of your dog. This will help people who may see him identify him quickly.
- Next, be sure to list where and when your dog was last seen. This will help people know where to look for him.
- In addition, include a physical description of your dog. This will help people know what he looks like and can help them identify him if they see him.
- Finally, be sure to include contact information. This will allow people who find your dog to get in touch with you easily.
6. Use Apps
Thankfully, many apps can help you find your lost dog. Shadow and Find Rover are two such apps. With Shadow, you can create an area-wide alert. You can also match the photo of your pet to thousands of pets reported found or located in shelters. Find Rover is similar to Shadow, but it also includes a lost pet registry. This registry includes contact information for people who have lost pets. If someone finds your pet, they can contact you through the registry.
7. Contact Shelters And Rescue Groups
If you have help from friends and family members, it is best to send someone to check the area shelters. Have them visit to make sure your pet is not there. Create a lost dog report and check back frequently. Do not forget to check with rescue groups in your area. Many good Samaritans will turn a pet over to a rescue group instead of a shelter.
Dogs can travel farther than you might think. Make sure you check shelters and rescues outside your immediate area. It is also possible that someone may have found your dog, then turned it over to a rescue closer to their home than yours. The humane society recommends that you check shelters within a sixty-mile radius of where the pet went missing.
8. Make Flyers
Make flyers and put them up all around your neighborhood or the area where your dog went missing. You can also use a colorful poster board as a background and attach the flyer to the poster board to be more eye-catching. Make more copies of the flyer than you think you will need so that you can distribute them to people you encounter on your search.
Use a detailed picture of your dog and a colorful border around the edges. Make sure your flyer contains all the relevant information:
- The name of your pet
- Your first name and a contact telephone number
- Offer a reward, but consider not listing the specific amount. A reward might leave you vulnerable to scammers.
- Use the word lost or missing in large, bold typeface.
9. Search The Area Where Your Pet Went Missing
Walk the area where your pet went missing, and return at different times of the day. A lost dog may feel frightened and might initially hide. Look for likely hiding spots. Call your dog’s name in a calm voice. If you do not find your pet quickly, widen your search grid. Use this time to put up more flyers as well.
Talk to your neighbors or those you encounter on the street. Ask them to accept flyers and to contact you immediately if they spot your pet. Ask them to consider sharing the information on their social media. If your dog has a specific spot like a nearby dog park or a neighbor’s dog, they love, visit that area first and often.
10. Remain Hopeful
It is agonizing when a pet is missing, and you feel frantic about their safety. Continue to work on your action plan and stay optimistic. The good news is that more pets reunite with their owners than ever before. Though you never want to have to wait that long, there are reports of pets being reunited months after they have gone missing.